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Dublin: 2 °C Saturday 18 January, 2020
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Strike off, but can Leo fix the health system?

Here’s everything you need to know about what’s happening in Irish politics right now…

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Everyone’s talking about…

PastedImage-254 Source: RollingNews.ie

The country won’t face the prospect of a strike across its emergency departments today, but that doesn’t mean that the health system is magically fixed.

INMO nurses had been planning staggered two-hour work stoppages throughout Ireland, but called them off after late-night talks.

Health Minister Leo Varadkar yesterday criticised the structure and set-up of the HSE, but the fact remains that health is and has been a massive problem for consecutive governments.

Sinn Féin’s well-timed universal health care plan will throw even more spotlight on the issue.

In their 2011 manifesto, Fine Gael pledged a swathe of radical reforms that have not yet come to fruition and the challenge could now be a career-defining one for Varadkar.

A former doctor himself, he is acutely aware of the challenges seen in emergency departments.

The question is, can Leo fix it?

The agenda

  • The cabinet will meet this morning from 8am. It is expected they will discuss the response to the flooding which has plagued parts of the country.
  • The new Bankruptcy Bill will be discussed from 11am.
  • Communications Minister Alex White will answer questions in the Dáil from 2pm.
  • Leaders’ Questions will start at 3.15pm.
  • Before the Taoiseach takes questions from 3.36pm.
  • The Garda Síochána Bill will be discussed from after 5pm.
  • At 8.30pm, Fianna Fáil have a Private Members’ Bill on the development of a 1916 Quarter.
  • The Seanad will hear five bills between 1.45pm and 4.30pm.
  • In committees, the Irish harness racing industry is being discussed in the Agriculture, Food and Marine committee from 2pm.

What the others are saying

  • The Irish Times reports on a bizarre incident yesterday which saw junior minister Ann Phelan talking to herself in the Dáil yesterday.
  • The same paper also reports that a report handed to the government says that the planning process lacks transparency.
  • The Irish Examiner reports that Enda Kenny’s advisers want to limit his media exposure in an attempt to have him re-elected.
  • The Irish Independent reports that the coalition parties are split on an “implicit deal” they have to wait until after the Labour Party convention on 30 January to call an election.
  • The Irish Daily Mail reports that Frances Fitzgerald will close a loophole which allows couples get married at ages 16 and 17
  • The Times Ireland says a report going to the Oireachtas will look to ban building in flood plains.

In case you missed it

Good day for…

Ted Cruz. The Republican Texas senator made a huge leap in an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll yesterday. The poll shows Cruz trailing front-runner Donald Trump by just five points, down from 15 points in October. Cruz may now be the GOP establishment’s best chance of wresting the party’s presidential nomination from Trump.

Bad day for…

Fianna Fáil nua. You’re ten weeks out from a general election, trying to rehab your image and have people forget that the economy collapsed on your watch. Then, your former leader goes and spoils it all by saying something like this.

On the Twitter machine…

Junior Minister for the Gaeltacht Joe McHugh is helping the nation’s students, apparently.

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